Greene inspired Night Stand #20: Setting Ebony Plugs

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Blog entry by ChicoWoodnut posted 09-22-2008 05:39 AM 4113 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 19: Making Lots of Ebony Plugs Part 20 of Greene inspired Night Stand series Part 21: Ball Catches, Trim parts and making the top »

I spent some time today setting the ebony plugs I made in my last entry. It was pretty easy really even though I was pretty apprehensive about drilling holes in an assembled piece.

Start by drilling some holes. These plugs are 1/4” so the drill bit is a little smaller at 3/16”. I drilled a little over the depth of the plugs at 1/4”

I bought a very cheap 1/4” hollow mortice chisel. I flipped the bit upside down and used it to center the chisel over the holes.

Then I squared the bit.

I drove it home with a wooden mallet. I take two passes at this. The idea is to keep the sides well defined. When you pull the hollow chisel out you don’t want to rock it. Pull it STRAIGHT OUT. That keeps the hole from enlarging or deforming.

Here is what I was left with. Clean up the bottom a little with a small chisel. I used a 1/8” because I don’t want to meddle wth the definition of the square hole or crush the sides.

Dab a little glue in the hole to coat the sides. No glue on the plugs. I don’t want any squeeze out.

Chamfer the plug just a little starting about 1/16” from the bottom. Don’t start the taper up too high, you only need a little bit to get it started. Press the plug in with your finger.

Tap it in with a small mallet till the edges are JUST FLUSH with the face. The effect is that the plug is proud because of the pillow, not because it is sticking out of the hole.

As you can see, these are not perfect. For my first run I put the plugs on the back of the case. I think the bottom plug should be a little further to the right to separate them a little more. Also, they are not perfectly squarely aligned. Ah well, it is a good start and I have the process worked out.

-- Scott - Chico California

11 comments so far

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 5090 days

#1 posted 09-22-2008 06:43 AM


These look fantastic! Great detail in the blog and in your work. I am excited to try this in my table. You must be in the home stretch now on your night stands.

View Texasgaloot's profile


465 posts in 4983 days

#2 posted 09-22-2008 12:30 PM

This is a great series.

Clever approach using the hollow mortise chisel! Well done. I’m Greene with envy.

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 5304 days

#3 posted 09-22-2008 01:29 PM

You really do nice work Scott.
Your joints are almst invisible.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 5050 days

#4 posted 09-22-2008 02:27 PM

That is a wonderful detail. Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Phil Clark's profile

Phil Clark

359 posts in 5078 days

#5 posted 09-22-2008 04:25 PM

Scott – look’n good. Isn’t it fun lining up those little devils with no way to see because of all the fingers holding the hollow chisel. Are you going to Pasadena in Oct?

-- Legacy Woodcraft

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 5410 days

#6 posted 09-22-2008 07:20 PM

Hi Scott:

I like your idea of offsetting the second peg.

Tip: I would use some blue painters tape in the area you wish to drill/punch.
Carefully layout pencil lines for alignment of where you want to cut.
You can drill and punch directly through the tape.

I’m planning to use some square pegs in an upcoming design.
I’ve decided to align the pegs diagonally for a little extra effect.

-- 温故知新

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5360 days

#7 posted 09-23-2008 12:34 AM

its coming along great!!!!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View jcees's profile


1079 posts in 5082 days

#8 posted 09-24-2008 02:33 AM



-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Karson's profile


35279 posts in 5683 days

#9 posted 09-24-2008 03:03 AM

Great job. Looking nice.

Here is my blog on my G&G kitchen cabinets.

I put my pegs 5/8 from each side Top right is 5/8 – 5/8 and the others are 5/8 from the where the cross pieces met.

I just guessed at the placement. I thought it looked balanced. I used 3/8” plugs

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5157 days

#10 posted 09-24-2008 03:09 AM

Great photos of an interesting process.

-- Happy woodworking!

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 5098 days

#11 posted 09-25-2008 02:45 AM

Phil: Lining up those little devils is indeed a challenge. I’m getting pretty good at it though. This whole project has been a long series of firsts for me.

Randy: Thanks. The blue tape idea sounds excellent. Aligning the pegs like that isn’t my idea. It was invented by Henry and Charles Greene in about 1904 LOL.

Karson: Thanks for the peek at those kitchen cabinets. The way you constructed the doors is inspiring. I have a tall case that has doors I wish I had built like that. (They warped and don’t quite sit flush where they meet in the middle).

Blake: Thanks! Did you get your pin router thing worked out?

Thanks to all who have looked.

-- Scott - Chico California

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